Sunday, June 11, 2017

Batman Was Really Adam West

I heard the news Saturday morning that Adam West had died at age 88. 88 years, not a bad run. It was leukemia that took him but up until then, Adam West was still active, physically and mentally in good shape. His battle with leukemia was short; but I've seen people put up longer battles against the dreaded disease and you have to wonder that staying alive is hardly a mercy. 

Living a long life with your wits about you and your body still able to function, then when it's time to die, a disease takes you out quick but with enough time to say goodbye. If you gotta go (and there is no "if" about it), there are worse ways to go. 

OK, I'm getting a bit morbid. As one gets older while watching death claim the remnants of youth one by one by one, it's hard to not get darkly introspective.  

Let's go to 1989. I was telling my mom about this cool Batman movie that was coming out. My mom said she might want to see it; she really liked Adam West. 

I explained that this movie was going to different from the TV show. Adam West would not be Batman. 

My mom did not care for that. How can someone else be Batman? There was only one Batman and that was Adam West.

She could be stubborn like that. 

My relationship with Batman as Adam West was a bit more complicated. As I child, I enjoyed the colorful adventures of the Dynamic Duo that aired after I got out of school.  As I got older, I got "tingly" whenever Batgirl was on screen. 

Like most comic book fans of the Caped Crusader, I grew to see the Batman TV show as an embarrassment. That's not how Batman was supposed to be. He was a dark avenger of justice, not some brightly garbed, walking in the daylight quasi-policeman.  

It was probably not until my 40's that I began to realize, Batman on TV was a joke and it was a good joke made all the more amusing by the skill of the man at the center of it, Adam West. 

In the midst of all the day-glo absurdity of the Batman TV show, Adam West played Batman seriously which only heightened the comedic tension. It also served to save Batman; he may have been part of the joke but Adam's Batman was himself not a joke. 

As much as us "serious" Batman fans thought the Batman TV show was a silly aberration, it was a show that created a renewed interest in Batman and in comic books. The 1970s were a rough time for the comics industry; imagined if there had not been surge in popularity in the mid to late 1960s? 

Where would we be without Batman by Adam West? 

Thank you, Adam West. Thank you for being Batman, for saving Batman. You had a good run. Now rest easy. If you see my mom up there, say "hi". She was a big fan. 

That's all for today. Don't forget, the Doctor Who episode recap and review are posting as of the next Saturday after it airs. 

Until next time remember to be good to one another.  

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